Howlin 'wolf

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Howlin 'Wolf (1972)

Howlin 'Wolf (born June 10, 1910 as Chester Arthur Burnett in White Station near West Point , Mississippi , † January 10, 1976 in Chicago , Illinois ) was an American blues musician.


Howlin 'Wolf was known for his distinctive style of singing and his "gritty" voice. He seems almost omnipresent on his recordings through them, but also through strong harmonica playing. He influenced many singers such as John Fogerty , Tom Waits and Mick Jagger . The Rolling Stone listed it at number 31 of the 100 greatest singers of all time and ranked 54 of the greatest music artists of all time . Legendary record producer Sam Phillips of Sun Records (where Wolf recorded in the early 1950s) said of Howlin 'Wolf: “When I heard Howlin' Wolf, I said to myself, 'This is for me. This is the place where the human soul never dies. '"

Howlin 'Wolf was next to Sonny Boy Williamson II. , Little Walter and Muddy Waters one of the most successful musician singers of the Chicago blues , especially for the Chess Records label . Many of his songs were often played hit singles (often composed by Willie Dixon , such as Spoonful or Evil ) . Many artists and bands - also outside the blues - have covered songs by Howlin 'Wolf, including The Rolling Stones and Cream .

Wolf was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.

life and work

Chester Arthur Burnett was born in White Station; He got his first name after an American president of the 19th century. After his parents separated, his mother handed him over to his uncle Will, about whom a childhood friend said he was the meanest person between here and hell. At the age of thirteen he left his hometown and went to live with his father in the delta, who lived on the Young and Morrow plantation near Ruleville. As a child he was nicknamed "Howlin 'Wolf". His role model was Charley Patton , from whom he received his first guitar lessons, as Patton worked on the nearby Dockerey Plantation. He received his first harmonica lessons from Sonny Boy Williamson II, who was courting his stepsister. After he was discharged from the army, he went to West Memphis, Arkansas. In 1951 he recorded his first record for Sam Phillips, which became an instant hit. It reached number 10 on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues chart. After his recording contract was transferred to Chess Records in 1953, he moved to Chicago, where he lived the rest of his life. He played with Willie Johnson , Hubert Sumlin and Willie Dixon , among others .

The latter wrote a considerable number of Howlin 'Wolf's greatest hits, including Evil, Spoonful, I Ain't Superstitious and Back Door Man . Burnett achieved a respectable success with his composition Smokestack Lightnin ' . Well-known bands like the Rolling Stones , Led Zeppelin , Cream and the Doors had success with pieces by Howlin 'Wolf. One of the most outstanding features of Howlin 'Wolf's music was his powerful, often coarse-looking grating voice, which served as a model for many white rock singers such as Jim Morrison , the early Rod Stewart and later Tom Waits .

Howlin 'Wolf began his blues career at the age of 18 when his father gave him a guitar in 1928 and, inspired by Charley Patton, began playing the blues. In 1935 he moved with his brother-in-law Sonny Boy Williamson II and Robert Lockwood Jr. through the southern states and appeared in jukebox bars. In 1948 he formed his first blues band with Little Junior Parker , James Cotton , Matt Murphy , Pat Hare and Willie Johnson .

The first recordings of Howlin 'Wolf date back to 1951. In the Sun Records Studio the tracks How Many More Years and Moanin' at Midnight were recorded with the 41-year-old , with Ike Turner on piano and Willie Johnson on guitar.

After the singer moved to Chicago , he became one of the most popular artists on the Chess Records label . Muddy Waters was also under contract with Chess Records and a rivalry arose over who was the better blues musician. According to musicians who had played for both, Howlin 'Wolf was the better bandleader because he paid on time and paid unemployment and social security benefits for them. From 1956 he recorded pieces regularly. Two of his greatest hits, Wang Dang Doodle and Back Door Man , were written in 1960. Little Red Rooster and I Ain't Superstitious followed in 1961 . Howlin 'Wolf first traveled to Europe for the American Folk Blues Festival in 1964 .

One of the most famous albums was created in 1967 with the blues musicians Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley : The Super Super Blues Band . Three years later, in 1970, the London Sessions were co-created with Eric Clapton , Steve Winwood , Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts . The last album The Back Door Wolf was made in 1973.

Last appearance and death

He made his last appearance in November 1975 at the Chicago Amphitheater, with BB King , Albert King , OV Wright and Luther Allison . At the very intense concert he crawled across the stage during the play Crawling King Snake , at the end he received a standing ovation for over five minutes. A team of several doctors was waiting behind the stage to take care of him after the performance. Two months later he died of heart surgery in Chicago. Howlin 'Wolf is buried next to his wife Lillie in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Hillside, Cook County, Illinois. The Howlin 'Wolf Memorial Blues Festival is held annually in West Point, Mississippi, in his memory .

In the film Cadillac Records , Howlin 'Wolf was portrayed by British actor Eamonn Walker .


Howlin 'Wolf was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. In 2004 the music magazine Rolling Stone put him in their "List of the Hundred Most Important Artists of All Time" at number 51. In 2010 his song "Spoonful" was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame of the Blues Foundation . “This is Howlin 'Wolf's new album. He doesn't like it. He didn't like his electric guitar at first either. "Was added to The Wire's" 100 Records That Set the World on Fire (While No One Was Listening) " list.



  • 1959: Moanin 'in the Moonlight - Chess
  • 195 ?: Rhythm & Blues with Howlin 'Wolf - London
  • 1962: Howlin 'Wolf Sings the Blues - P-Vine Records
  • 1962: Howlin 'Wolf - Chess / Universal Distribution
  • 1962: The Rockin 'Chair Album - Vogue
  • 1964: Live in Europe 1964 - Music Avenue
  • 1965: Poor Boy - Chess
  • 1966: Big City Blues - Custom
  • 1966: Live in Cambridge, 1966 - New Rose
  • 1967: The Original Folk Blues
  • 1968: The Super Super Blues Band (with Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters) - MCA Records
  • 1969: Evil - Notnow
  • 1969: The Howlin 'Wolf Album - Cadet / Universal Distribution
  • 1970: Goin 'Back Home - Syndicate
  • 1971: Message to the Young - Chess / Universal Distribution
  • 1971: The London Howlin 'Wolf Sessions - Chess / Universal Distribution
  • 1972: Live and Cookin 'at Alice's Revisited - Chess
  • 1973: The Back Door Wolf - Chess
  • 1974: Howlin 'Wolf aka Chester Burnett - Chess
  • 1974: London Revisited - Chess
  • 1977: Howlin 'Wolf - Chess
  • 1979: Can't Put Me Out - Blues Ball
  • 1979: Heart Like a Railroad Steel - Blues Ball
  • 1986: Howlin 'Wolf / Moanin' In The Moonlight - MCA / Chess
  • 1989: Memphis Days: Definitive Edition, Vol. 1 - Bear Family
  • 1990: Memphis Days: Definitive Edition, Vol. 2 - Bear Family
  • 1990: My Baby Walked Off (recordings from 1951/1953) - Green Line SRL
  • 1991: Chess Box - MCA / Chess
  • 1991: The Blues Collection , issue 7 (corresponds to the album The London Howlin 'Wolf Sessions with bonus tracks, recorded 1970)
  • 1995: Live at Joe's 1973 - Wolf
  • 1995: Cadillac Daddy: Memphis Record - Rounder
  • 1997: His Best - MCA / Chess
  • 1997: The Genuine Art - MCA / Chess
  • 2002: The Real Folk Blues / More Real Folk Blues - MCA
  • 2003: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Howlin 'Wolf - MCA
  • 2003: Rockin 'the Blues: Live in Germany 1964 - Acrobat
  • 2004: Best of Howlin 'Wolf - Musicales Actes Sud
  • 2004: The Wolf is at Your Door - Cadiz Music
  • 2004: Classics 1952–1953 - B&R Classics
  • 2005: Muddy & The Wolf - Chess
  • 2005: Moanin 'the Blues saga
  • 2006: Sun Years - Blues Factory
  • 2006: Together - Howlin Wolf & Muddy Waters - Phantom
  • 2006: Wang Dang Doodle - Phantom
  • 2006: Howlin 'the Blues - Music Avenue
  • 2007: Anthology
  • 2007: Live in Europe - Music Avenue
  • 2008: The Legendary Masters Series - Aim
  • 2009: Best Of Howlin 'Wolf 1951–1958 - Proper Box (3 CD and DVD)
  • 2010: Rarities Edition: The London Howlin 'Wolf Sessions - Geffen
  • 2010: Demon Drivin 'Blues Man - Passport
  • 2010: The Blues Anthology Masters - Classic
  • 2011: Smokestack Lightning: Complete Chess Masters (4 CD) - MCA / Chess


  • 2003: American Folk Blues Festival 1962–1966 - Volume Two
  • 2003: Howlin 'Wolf Story
  • 2007: Howlin 'Wolf - In Concert, 1970


  • James Segrest, Mark Hoffman: Moanin 'at Midnight. The Life and Times of Howlin 'Wolf . Pantheon, New York 2004, ISBN 0-375-42246-3 .

Web links

Commons : Howlin 'Wolf  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  5. Howlin Wolf's biography
  6. a b Howlin Wolf Bio
  7. the early 1930s had Vocalion Records the 78s The Howling Wolf Blues singer and guitarist JT Smith published, who toured in the Dallas area.
  8. For these recordings see: Escott, Colin / Hawkins, Martin: Good Rockin 'Tonight. Sun Records and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll . New York City, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991, pp. 29-32
  9. Biography, page 2
  10. ^ US Rolling Stone Issue 946
  11. compiled from Amazon, CD Universe and All Music Guide